Muddying the waters: transcript Key on RNZ

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, August 18th, 2014 - 81 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, democracy under attack, election 2014, john key, national, radio, slippery - Tags:

John Key’s interview on Radio New Zealand is quite telling.  Guyon Espiner, patiently pursues some crucial questions, while Key diverts and twists and turns.  He uses analogies that are not equivalent: a list of the All Blacks team under wraps, is not the same as private details of ordinary people who are members of a political party; Keith Ng’s process of exposing the failings of the WINZ system to keep claimants details private, in order to get that hole closed, is not like the way Whale Oil encouraged other members of the public to look at Labour Party members private details.

Key's 2 faces by Gordon Campbell

And don’t get me started on treating politics as a game, in which all is fair.  I’ve been working on a transcript of the interview.  It’s a wearying process, listening carefully to all John Key’s obfuscations, diversions, and attempts to gloss over the dirty politics that are a feature of his time as National party leader.


KEY: What we do know is, you know, you’ve got a a book that’s pretty selective, in its in its emails and they’re based on one perspective. And probably a bit out of context and with a whole bunch of assumptions that are either aren’t correct or are made up and now can’t be backed up.  But whose behind it? You have to go and ask yourself the question, “Who has the motivation? And who has the capabilities?” The answer is I, I don’t know the answer to those.

ESPINER: Well let’s have a look at some of those specifics in the book. Cameron Slater gets an OIA request granted from the SIS which embarrasses Phil Goff. It’s approved in a few days, which is unheard of for information to be released that quickly, especially from the highly sensitive SIS.

KEY: Well

ESPINER: Did that did that request come across your desk?

KEY: No.

ESPINER: So you’re the minister responsible for the SIS, yet you did not sign off on that request?

KEY: No.

ESPINER: You had no knowledge that a request had been made?

KEY: I knew there were requests cause, you know, I would have known cause generally they say, you know, there’s a series of requests into the into the SIS or the GCSB, but they often sign off on, well they would sign off on things on their own timetable. We’ve got slightly better processes now so they’ll tell me.

ESPINER: So, you had, I mean this is very unusual for a minister

KEY: No.

ESPINER:  not to get, not to get OIA requests put by them before they go out.

KEY: Not always, to be honest. Sometimes I I myself am amazed the stuff I see on the paper that’s been released under the SIS.  But, look, at the end of the day, I mean Phil Goff made either a genuine mistake, or he was incompetent. This is an issue from 3 years ago which probably most voters aren’t that interested in talking now but

ESPINER: So, why did Cameron Slater get the information that the general media sought, asked for, and didn’t get?

KEY: Well, you’d have to ask the SIS that. It must be to do with the way the request was written. But, and I think he actually didn’t get the information. I, look I can’t remember cause it was so many years ago now, but I think he got the [type?] of what was in there. But that was because Warren Tucker did brief him. I was saying that publicly Warren Tucker briefed him. I was saying everywhere, because we knew he was briefed on the issue. Now he either just genuinely forgot, or he was incompetent and didn’t realise it.  But what ultimately happened there, was that he was wrong, and Warren knew he was wrong and was, maybe he was offended by it but it was a pretty simple thing so he released it. Lots of OIAs go out quite quickly. It was nothing to do with me.

EPSINER: OK.  The accessing of the Labour Party computer. You have said it is OK for Jason Ede to have looked and poked around in that material.

KEY: Well, could I jus, firstly there’s a few assumptions in that in that whole thing. One as I understand it, [?] rehash we can rehearse [?] the whole thing. But one is that you know somehow National hacked into the thing. That that’s just not true. Secondly it was nothing to do with us in terms of, you know, the initial sort of thing.  My understanding of it, only because generally

ESPINER: Yes but, but you, but you have conceded you think it’s OK for Jason Ede to have been looking around in that material.

KEY: Yeah, I do. Because there’s the, the point here was that there was no hacking of anything. Obviously a couple of these guys, one of which includes Cameron Slater worked out.

ESPINER: But it was supposed to be private material though isn’t it?

KEY: No.

ESPEINER: But you think it’s OK for one of your staff members to go looking around in it, even if it was mistakenly improperly secured.

KEY: So are you genuinely saying Guyon, if National made a bit of a mistake, and on its website, where people can donate to us or where there’s a there’s information about our members, if we, if we took our security off, made a mistake and left it open, and that a left wing blogger became aware of that, very much like

ESPINER: No, your own staff member and you haven’t.  No one’s denied this,


ESPINER: Your own staff member picked through the information.

KEY: No, no, but let’s say a left wing blogger, because we had that

ESPINER: Well, no we don’t need to deal in hypotheticals, because we’ve got a real scenario right here. What is appropriate about the fact that someone in your office, was poking around in another party’s private information?

KEY: Take a breath for a second, and let’s just let me finish. OK so if a left wing blogger, went around and found out that there was a situation where the security had been taken off, right. And we’ve been told that to, I don’t know, someone who works in David Cunliffe’s office, would they potentially go and have a look? And the answer is , Yes, and that would be totally fine. If theall.  If the Wallabies, on Tuesday night, left their starting line-up, up on, on, on their website, on their private website, would the All Black’s go and have a look? The answer is yes. And the reason I know that is it’s happened. And

ESPINER: So this, this is just a way that dir, that politics is, now is it? This is dirty politics, but it’s OK?

KEY: Well

ESPINER: This is the moral leadership you seem to be presiding over here? Oh, well, it’s fair game, the door was open, so we came in and had a look around.

KEY: Well, a left wing blogger worked out that the WINZ sites were open. And went.

ESPINER: And so you uphold the same standards as some blogger do you, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand?

KEY: No, what I’m saying to you,

ESPINER: Well they are the analogies you’re giving me.

KEY: No, they’re not, what I’m saying to you is, that a whole lot of assumptions were made in the book, or were cast that way, that were either would knowingly have been wrong because Nicky  Hager must have known that was wrong: this is [?] that was broken into, or he was, you know, in such a rush to get the job out that was basically gone and run roughshod over the facts. But what I’m saying to you is that in the end, yeah, look, at the end of the day, people do look at things, and that’s just, that’s just the way it works.



KEY: I mean

ESPINER:  OK. Well what about the behaviour of your minister Judith Collins?  Is it acceptable for her to divulge the name of a public servant, because he may have leaked details ?

KEY: Well I don’t have the details on that one

ESPINER: she suspected he did.

KEY: I just don’t

ESPINER: Well, why don’t you ask her?

KEY: Well because I. A: it’s very. Sorry it’s.  Look to be

ESPINER: In fact, in fact, with respect, Mr Key, she has admitted that. She conceded she did pass on that name.

KEY: Yeah, but I don’t know the details under, of all of that scenario.

ESPINER: So why don’t you ask her?

KEY: Because, at the end of the day, we’re five weeks out from an election, people can see that Nicky Hager’s made a whole lot of things up in his book. He can see that he can’t back a lot of them up.

ESPINER: Well, I’m talking about one that can be backed up. You’re not going to get away with that.

KEY: See he

ESPINER: Because, because, this is one that can be backed up, because the Justice Minister of New Zealand has conceded publicly, that she did pass on the name of a public servant.  That resulted in him getting some pretty severe death threats. And you think that’s, OK?

KEY: And people can see that


KEY: And people can see

ESPINER: Yes or no? Is it OK?

KEY:  And people can see that this


KEY: People can see

ESPINER: Is it OK that Judith Collins did that, yes or no?

KEY: And people can see that this is a smear campaign by Nicky Hager and

ESPINER: I’m not asking you for a critique about Nicky Hager’s motivation

Key: Well I

ESPINER: I’m asking you about something that is publicly in the arena. Judith Collins has said, “I passed on the name of this public servant.” And we know what happened after that.

KEY: But the

ESPINER: I’m asking you a simple question. Was that appropriate, Yes or No?

KEY: context  is totally relevant, because at the end of the day, I don’t know all the context of what happened here and in all those situations

ESPINER: You know the context here, Prime Minster. Please answer the question.

KEY: We don’t know

ESPINER: Was it appropriate for your Justice Minister to pass on the name of a public servant doing his job, who was then severely sanctioned on a website?

KEY: So, I don’t know all the details behind all of that. But what I do know, is that this is a series of selected pieces of information. Many of which can’t be backed up. I know that this was

ESPINER: I’m asking you about one of them.

KEY: Yeah, well, I’m not going to go into your individual ones, because in the end, this is a smear campaign, about which, I gotta say, started the week with with people, you know, out there

ESPINER: No, I’m not, you’re not going to talk about burning effigies, etc, because it has nothing to do with this.

KEY: Well, it does [voice hits a squeaky note]

ESPINER: I’m talking No

KEY: to do with this, because, at the end of the day,

ESPINER: No. this is about the behaviour of your Justice Minister. Do you stand by her today?

KEY: Yeah [slightly squeaky voice] I stand by her. And in the end, it does have a lot to with it, because we started the week with burning effigies. Then we went into, into, sorry, FU videos. Then we went into into burning effigies, then we went into Bill

ESPINER: OK, we’re not going to traverse the whole history.  Here’s a final question for you.

KEY: but

ESPINER: Were you aware that Jason Ede was running, effectively, a dirty tricks campaign from your office? Did you know about that?

KEY: He’s he’s been briefing bloggers and, of course he briefs people on the right – just as people – I’m in the Labour leadership over the years have briefed people on the left.

ESPINER: Yeah, but he’s not just briefing a blogger. There’s a guy who writes, “Feral dies in Greymouth did world a favour”; calls people in Christchurch after the earthquake a a scum

KEY: Yeah b

ESPINER: Are you happy to associate yourself with Cameron Slater of Whale Oil?

KEY: Well at the end of the day, he’s not, he’s not my guy, Cameron Slater. I don’t run anything. Anyone who knows Cameron Slater, knows that he’s a force unto himself. And at the end of the day, yeah, he gets

ESPINER: Yeah. And what do you think of him?

KEY: information from a whole bunch of things. I’m not here to, to either defend the guy

ESPINER: But you are, because you engage with him and your office was in a systematic campaign of feeding him information.

KEY: No, no, what happens is, there’s certainly. Of course we would brief bloggers and talk to bloggers. And there’s a whole wide range of them. And so does the left. And if they don’t, then you’re either naïve or

ESPINER: Do you respect the work he does?

KEY: That’s not for me to critique his stuff. What I have to

EPSINER: Well, it is because you engage with him. You’ve told us that.

KEY: I’m not a political

ESPINER: You text him and you talk to him.

KEY: OK. I’m not a political commentator. What I have to do is be aware of what’s on blog sites.  And the truth is, Guyon, you and I would have fifty thousand more conversations than I have with that guy. So, you can deny that if you want

ESPINER: So, are you

KEY: even though


KEY: In your previous


KEY: roles I’ve spoken to you


KEY: I hardly the talk to this guy

ESPINER: So are you equating the work that journalists at Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV 3 and the other mainstream media do, to a guy who says “Feral dies in Greymouth did world a favour” and calls people in Christchurch scum

KEY: Well I don’t agree, I don’t agree with those comments. But he’s a shock jock right wing

ESPINER: Are you equating him with with the work that most mainstream journalists do, and the public listening to this, who consume their material? Are you saying to the public of New Zealand, “That’s just the same as Whale Oil”?

KEY: Well, all I’m saying is, whether we like it or not, social media is part of the overall media network these days. And I have to deal with those issues, just like  anyone else.



81 comments on “Muddying the waters: transcript Key on RNZ ”

  1. Tracey 1

    argggh at his inevitable rugby analogy…

    “”The point is, if the Wallabies left up on their public site their starting 15 on Tuesday, would the All Black management go and have a look?” ”

    Outside of his script Key was lost. he floundered when his scripted responses didn’t get accepted. Probably because the only other place to go was the truth and he can’t handle the truth.

    Also telling was his revisit of the Banks excuse this time for Collins

    ” Key is standing by Collins, and said he did not know all the details of the scenario, so would not go into it.

    “I don’t know all of the details behind all of that,” Key said on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report today. “

    • Kiwiri 1.1

      The Prime Liar cannnot keep saying “I don’t know” as the clock ticks away. It is already coming to a week when the book has laid out the details and it beggars belief that he has not looked into the issues raised.

    • the pigman 1.2

      The only thing more infuriating than Key trying to steer the conversation to the rugby was the fact he got claim the All Blacks for National and relegated Labour to the Wallabies.

      Then I saw this:

      and threw up in my mouth a little.

  2. JanM 2

    He’s dog tucker, I’d say, as long as the media show some persistence

  3. Tracey 3

    If anyone wonders why it is important that people like Mr Slater, Mr Lusk, Mr Bhatnagar and others named in the book, along with Mr Key and very definitely Ms Collins are held to account for thier appalling lack of moral compass and bullying, read this heart breaking article.

    How many of the above have children. How many of the above think they have brought their kids up well, and have hidden their behaviour from them? Sir Doug Graham probably imagined he had done a good job with Carrick

  4. Way to go Guyon Espiner – good to see he has found his mojo wherever he’d left it last week.

    And excellent work Karol transcribing the interview, your brain must be hurting. I only heard the tail end – to see it in print is very revealing.

    • karol 4.1

      I was actually planning to transcribe the TV3 video of last week’s standup, today. However, decided to do this first.

      Transcribing is time consuming. I need to take a break, have some breakfast and coffee. Then will finish the RNZ transcription.

      I think it is important to have searchable and quotable transcripts of some key (heh) interviews, otherwise they tend to get lost in cyberspace over time.

      • wyndham 4.1.1

        karol, You are a gem. The Standard is so fortunate to have your perceptive comment and dedication to left-wing causes.

        For myself, many,many thanks.

        • Pasupial


          I know how time-consuming transcription can be even when you agree with the speaker; that interview must have been tortuous to endure repeatedly. To those not seduced by his glib manner, listening to Key’s words can be like fingernails on a chalkboard (or maybe; a glitching MP3 playback, is a better simile to those less long in the tooth).

          As always, the cruelest response to any ShonKey statement is to simply transcribe it verbatim.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2

        Transcribing is time consuming.

        Transcribe (Chrome App) but please note that it’s not free although you can use it for free for 7 days. Also here if you’re not using Chrome.

    • Tracey 4.2

      where ever he and others have left it for over 6 years.

    • Tracey 4.3

      “National Party Leader John Key says Winston Peters would be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by him unless Mr Peters can provide a credible explanation on the Owen Glenn saga.

      “Labour Party donor Owen Glenn’s letter to the Privileges Committee completely contradicts Winston Peters’ version of events about the substantial $100,000 donation made by Mr Glenn to Mr Peters’ legal costs.

      “Mr Glenn’s letter represents a direct challenge to Mr Peters’ credibility, from the only other person in the world in a position to know the facts.

      “From Parliament’s point of view, the Privileges Committee provides an appropriate vehicle to resolve the points of conflict and to hold individuals to account. But from the Prime Minister’s and the Government’s point of view, that is not enough.

      “Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

      “It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

      Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister. Helen Clark has stood Ministers from Labour down for much less .

      “Unless he can provide a credible explanation about this serious issue, he should be unacceptable to Helen Clark as a Minister in her Labour-led Government.

      “Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a Minister in a government led by me unless he can provide a credible explanation.”

      Right Honourable John Key – August 2008 – National Party Press Release (emphasis my own and to highlight, again, the difference between this and his stance on many including Mr Banks AND Ms Collins)

      and some people commented on it thus

      “J McCready 2008-08-27 17:45 – (Reply)

      Thank heavens -a decisive answer to Winston Peters shannanigans. I was waivering on National but am now thinking it might be a serious contender again. Waiting to see more action, less pussy footing around.

      #2 – James Lloyd said:
      2008-08-28 09:47 – (Reply)

      I am slightly amazed (to say the least), why it has taken so long for Nationals to realise that Winston Peters is A/ not above the law and B/ spinning the largest yarn imaginable. Just because you are a sworn in member of parliament does not make you above the law. There has been nothing but inconsistencies in all of his financial affairs, which by the way have all gone to court and have been held up and lost in the system for a number of years. Peters must the best funded MP in NZ to have what appears to be a bottom less pit of cash to quash and dispel all allegations made; eventually the truth will come out. Surely, the concern now should be even if he does offer a half arsed explanation and remains as minister (as he obviously has a hold over the current leader), wouldn’t this damage the credibility of Nationals if you decide to keep him on. As there is no smoke without fire and speaking from the coal face, there are a lot of voters that see Peters as a corrupt man. I say boot him out when you guys get back in power and start a fresh. New Government + New Start = New Zealand (Oooo catchy slogan !!!).

      #3 – Vijay Kumar 2008-08-29 15:40 – (Reply)

      Better late than never, goes the saying and I am immensely thrilled to hear John distancing himself and the party from the Quick sand of New Zealand. Well done and look forward to National and the new PM John.

      #4 – david 2008-08-29 22:29 – (Reply)

      About time and I think you could go further and stronger in your comments on Peters and Clark. Both dodge and weave and duck responsibility in a way that would never be acceptable for an MD or CEO of a multimillion dollar business, so how come we have to put up with it when the whole country and its international reputation is at stake? You ARE going to be PM and you should more forcefully act and speak as if you are already, rather than in opposition. Come on John, I’ve heard you talk about a new, more confident New Zealand…lets see some more strong leadership from the front.

    • adam 4.4

      Wow Karol, It was a hard listen, and transcribing it is a massive. Big thank you and Bigger hugs

  5. This is a great service for all of us. In your final copy, please don’t omit the multiple variations on :

    ESPINER: Your own staff member picked through the information.

    KEY: No, no, but let’s say a left wing blogger, because we had that

    ESPINER: Your own staff member

    KEY: No, no a left wing blogger….

    which went on so long that it was like watching a train wreck.

    • Tracey 5.1

      Because he is a crafted PR front. We never see the real Key. It’s why it takes 24-36 hours after something out of the ordinary to hear properly from Key. He has tobe trained in the script. He had his script BUT Espiner didnt let him stick to it.

      This is something the press have singularly failed at since 2007, getting him off his script which is to frame it his way regardless of what he is asked.

  6. vto 6

    This is the bit that got Key imo. It highlights Key’s nature as a compulsive liar…

    … Key outlines analogies of left wing bloggers and rugby teams, Espiner puts the analogies straight back to Key, and Key’s instant reaction is “no I didn’t”, when he just did.

    Key is a compulsive liar and this outlines it as clear as day.

    ESPINER: And so you uphold the same standards as some blogger do you, as the Prime Minister of New Zealand?

    KEY: No, what I’m saying to you,

    ESPINER: Well they are the analogies you’re giving me.

    KEY: No, they’re not,

    Yet they were. Key can’t help but make it up as he goes.

  7. Kiwiri 7

    Extremely valuable to have the transcript.
    The lying-in-action is more evident!

    Had to roll my eyes at this one:

    ESPINER: So, why did Cameron Slater get the information that the general media sought, asked for, and didn’t get?

    KEY: Well, you’d have to ask the SIS that.

    [Erm, guess who you’d have to ask, to ask SIS that? clue: who is the Minister responsible for SIS?]

    • Anne 7.1

      Put the following on O.M. More appropriate here:

      Just listened to the interview.

      “pisspictive” for perspective …. “ginirilly” for generally. Hangover much! New Zealand’s Prime Minister.

      I hang my head in shame and embarrassment.

      And what about this quote in respect of the Slater OIA to the SIS:

      No. I knew nothing about it. It didn’t go through me. Acshully, I’ve been amazed at what has been released by the SIS. – sucks in breath.

      That is more than a lie. To claim such an agency regularly hands out secret info. to any Tom, Dick or Harry – which was the clear inference – without any reference to him is bordering on libel.

      And what’s this Warren bit? His name is Warren Tucker. He was head of the SIS at the time. Is it not totally out of order to refer to him as Warren… as if he was a personal mate? So unprofessional!!

    • Tracey 7.2

      and of course Journos asked SIS lots of things… got ignored… so telling a journo to ask SIS why they ignored journo OIA requests, is a little circular

  8. rob 8

    “The point is, if the Wallabies left up on their public site their starting 15 on Tuesday, would the All Black management go and have a look?”

    saddest try on an analogy here …. kiwis love rugby, politics is like rugby, nothing matters… privacy is gone…

    I wish our Prime Minister would show leadership, and not draw false analogies

  9. tricledrown 9

    The emperors clothes have been found missing as the tide goes out Keys lies can’t cover the obscene attitude Key has for democracy!
    Someone has to ask him did he release documents from the SIS to Jason Ede ahead of other New Media!
    Their no substance to the allegations but Collins and Ede did do what Hagers book claims,
    Can’t have it both ways Mr Key no 3 way handshake here!
    So Mr Key you are Guilty by your own admission !
    You can fool some of the people some of the time!

  10. tricledrown 10

    Where have all the Right Wing Bloggers Gone to whale oils website everyone!

  11. KJS0ne 11

    Holy crap this is absolutely brilliant. Thank goodness Guyon Espiner has shown a bit of journalistic integrity here, I think he did a pretty spot up job holding Key’s feet to the fire on this, not giving him carte blanche to spin the story whatever way he chose. Key was pretty desperate to continue with his hypothetical about some ‘left wing blogger’. This made me smile.

  12. tricledrown 12

    One political promise a Party could make right that wouldn’t cost much is set up an independent anti corruption authority which would include a Media watch dog!
    The Greens Labour And Winston should be shouting this Policy out right now!

  13. hoom 13

    Keys front completely exposed for the Hollow Smiling shell it is.

    Was disappointed with Laila Harre having heard Key coming across very badly with obfuscation & distraction doing her own attempt to stick to her own line straight after.
    Somewhat lessens the impact.

  14. Tracey 14

    Remember this from Bryve Edwards?

    Has Duncan Garner had much to say so far?

  15. Enough is Enough 15

    He is now just making it up as he goes. And it is obvious.

    Key’s flaky support will crumble now that this is unravelling.

    Bill English’s 21% electoral disaster must now be looking likely to be repeated by the Nats. How can any sane person vote for this mob now.?

    Game Over.

    The Good Times are a coming back now

    • Tracey 15.1

      you think this will drop national over 25% in the election? Where do you think those votes will go?

      • Enough is Enough 15.1.1

        Centre Voters will go to NZ First and Labour, possibly 10% each.

        Hard right nutters will go Act, expect them to pick 2 or 3%.

        Those who are sick of the bullshit that goes on in the big parties will come in behind the only principled party in there, the Greens.

        • Tracey

          based on past polls and forgiveness or apathy towards their behaviour, i dont share yourconfidence

  16. Ffloyd 16

    And what about this. “I myself am amazed the stuff I see ON the paper that’s been released under the SIS”??
    Do you think he is on medication to keep himself …relaxed…?? He was pretty incoherent at times this morning when forced by Espiner to go off script. Even if he does get back in he is going to be no use to anybody. He will be hammered. Can the country as a whole not ask for his resignation?
    Ha! Watched a movie last night called Shooter. At one part one some guy said to the other, ”Your moral compass is so out of wack you’d be lucky to find your way to the car park”. . Paraphrased due to some bad language. Thought of key at that moment.

    • Tracey 16.1

      he’s incoherent when he goes off script because outside the script there is only the truth left and he knows he cant tell the truth…

    • Tracey 16.2

      This struck me as odd too. The h minister of the SIS wants us to believe he has a hands off approach…

      IF the no surprises policy was in place before the sis declassified and/or released OIA stuff to slater, as opposed to dminion, then does the following make a liar of the liar in chief, again?

      As some here may know i have been pursuing the underlying facts to a statement made by bill english to the data forum. Following a request for an extension by the MSD i complained to the Ombudsmen. That office has chased it up and two things emerged. The one relevant to the PM is contained in this from the MSD

      ” In terms of providing the information to the Minister’s Office, this is required of the Ministry as part of the “no surprises” approach. All requests made under the Official Information Act, regardless of their content and nature, must be provided to the Responsible Minister for their information as part of this approach. The “no surprises” approach is consistent with guidelines provided by the State Services Commission and the Cabinet Manual which emphasise that a Department or Ministry ought to advise the Responsible Minister of issues that may be discussed in the public arena or that may require a ministerial response, preferably ahead of time or otherwise as soon as possible ”


  17. Kris Gledhill 17

    ESPINER: So, why did Cameron Slater get the information that the general media sought, asked for, and didn’t get?

    KEY: Well, you’d have to ask the SIS that. … It was nothing to do with me.

    So who is it who speaks for the SIS? Isn’t it the Minister who has responsibility for the SIS? And that would be … John Key.

    • Tracey 17.1

      Oh noooooooo. This was one of the best exchanges finally ended by key suggesting that was then but now we have better processes so he sees stuff now…

  18. Chris 18

    This clown is our prime minister.

    • disturbed 18.1

      “This clown is our prime minister.”
      Not for much longer.
      NZ cant live on Planet Key any more now.

  19. disturbed 19

    “Time for an overhaul” Jim Carey from (Mask)

    “Slatergate,” Muddying the waters: transcript Key on RNZ
    Great work here.

    This was very similar to the way Watergate began in 1972 I watched while working in Canada.

    As the 1972 Watergate scandal begun, from first the leaking of documents showing Republicans were behind the raid on the Democrats files.

    Same occurred when the Nixon Government tried to hide all, and instead hit back at the press for releasing the stuff.

    Understandably the press went ballistic, and we hope “free press” gets to do the same as they did, and begin in depth investigative journalism instead of covering only side shows.

    Watch the thee whole story on History Channel after 8pm Tuesday 19th August.

  20. kiwigunner 20

    So a plumber rummages through an undie draw, or ferrets through a DVD Collection and Target vilifies him/her as the devil. The Prime Ministers Office sneaks through and downloads computer files and the PM says “anyone would have done it” and it’s ok.

  21. One Anonymous Bloke 21

    Thank you Karol.

    So looking forward to reading the “rehearsed” quote 🙂

    • swordfish 21.1

      No, I think it’s (in some ways) more innocent. Simply Key saying: “And we can rehearse the whole thing…” (as in We can go through all the dreary details if you really want to, but…)

      Karol’s already covered it in her transcript to date: she renders it: “[?] rehash the whole thing”

      • karol 21.1.1

        I thought it sounded a bot like “rehearse” but, at the time, it made no sense to me. Will correct.

        • felix

          After listening again I think you were right first time.

          “…well I suppose there’s a few assumptions in that, in that whole thing. One, as I understand it – haven’t rehearsed the whole thing, but – one is that, ah, y’know somehow national hacked into them…”

      • One Anonymous Bloke 21.1.2

        Ah true – I obviously need remedial English lessons: it was right there in front of me 🙂

      • felix 21.1.3

        Freudian slip. Pretty obvious he’s been up all night rehearsing the whole thing.

  22. swordfish 22

    My brief contribution to karol’s transcript 8:45 – 9:58

    ESPINER: Ok, we’re not going to traverse the whole history, here. Here’s a final question for you. Were you aware that Jason Ede was running effectively a dirty tricks campaign from your Office ? Did you know about that ?

    KEY: Well he’s not. He’s, he’s, he’s been, ah, briefing bloggers and, course he briefs people on the Right just as people in (half burps as he says the next word) I’m sure in the Labour leadership over the years have briefed people on the Left.

    ESPINER: Yeah, but he’s not just briefing a blogger. There’s a guy who writes “Feral guys in Greymouth did world a favour”. Calls people in Christchurch after the Earthcake (sic) “are scum. Are you happy to associate yourself with Cameron Slater of Whaleoil ?

    KEY: Well, at the end of the day, he’s not, he’s not my guy, Cameron Slater, I don’t run anything, anyone who knows Cameron Slater knows that he’s a force unto himself. And at the end of the day, yep, he gets his information from a whole bunch of things.

    ESPINER: And what do you think of him ?

    KEY: I’m not there to either defend the guy..

    ESPINER: But you are because you engage with him and your office was in a systematic campaign of feeding him information.

    KEY: No, what happens is um there’s certainly of course we would brief ah bloggers and talk to bloggers and there’s a whole wide range of them. And so does the Left and if they don’t then you’re either naïve or…

    ESPINER: Do you respect the work he does ?

    • the pigman 22.1

      This. To me, this was the most striking part of the interview and also the greatest lost opportunity. I see Ede’s work on the taxpayer’s teet as an achilles heel, and unfortunately Espiner let him get away with fudging his answer about his knowledge of Ede’s activities.

      Of course he fuckin’ knew.

  23. Bill 23

    So, Keys cronies dug dirt on journos and held it over them. Result is that journos ‘toed the line’. But then along comes Hager and…yeah, the dam breaks on the whole culture of fear and intimidation. And well, lets take a punt at where various allegiances and loyalties lie will we? Is a journalist going to tend to be tight with a pollie or with fellow journos at the end of the day?

    Ede and who-ever overstepped the mark when they believed they could intimidate journos and get away with it for ever. Party’s over. Key’s toast.

  24. Blue 24

    The Prime Ministerial Responsibility game:

    Next time your boss or a client asks you a question, say “I don’t have any details on that.”

    When they ask you to get them, say “No”.

    When they ask why, say “It’s all a smear campaign by [insert least favourite colleague/rival here].”

    When they ask if you have lost your mind, say “No more than John Key has lost his and he’s the Prime Minister of our country.”

  25. tricledrown 25

    ObfusKey was squealing like a pig this morning!
    He has admitted to releasing SIS documents in reality by saying Ede and Collins did nothing Wrong They have his full support!
    That means he has to sink or swim with them!

  26. Delia 26

    That was pathetic and that person who discovered the MSD web open had a third party tell MSD, they did not trawl through the site. Resign John Key.

  27. tricledrown 27

    Mathew Hooton eating dead rats priceless!

  28. David Thompson 28

    I’m a parent and know when my kids are lying because they sound like John Key did this morning. A stunning indication that the teflon has worn out and we see the collapse that follows hubris unfolding before us.

  29. David Thompson 29

    I’m a parent and know when my kids are lying because they sound like John Key did this morning. A stunning indication that the teflon has worn out and we see the collapse that follows hubris unfolding before us.

  30. Craig Glen Eden 30

    I think we can say the honeymoon is over and the marriage is looking shaky!

  31. Dont worry. Be happy 31

    Its very clear that the current PM as been coached in how to spin/lie….or rather bull shit…as liars tend to try and have a logical narrative…and he is often/usually incoherent. Watch for the little squeak in his voice when the bullshit gets too dodgey…they havent managed to train that constriction of his vocal cords out of his performance..that tiny little part of his being that is beyond his conscious control. He is on the ropes…but dont expect the right to go like gentlemen. There are some very dirty tricks ahead.

  32. TheContrarian 32

    Wow, Guyon was relentless

  33. emergency mike 33

    Yes well done Guyon Espiner. Sounding a bit like someone waking up to the kind of person he is talking to after having been taken for a ride for years.

    Also credit to Matthew Hooten (ug, it felt strange to type that) on nine to noon for calling Key’s interview ‘a disaster’, ‘the worst interview he’s done in six years’, Key ‘not remotely plausible’, ‘not remotely credible’.

    • Tracey 33.1

      perhaps matthew has a line, and these guys crossed it… But he still appears to have given Hagers street name to someone suggesting harm could follow.

  34. CeeH 35

    Gosh John Key seriously talks a lot of dribble. Defensive in having to critique Cameron Slater, Eade, and Judith Collin’s actions but quick to accuse Nicky Hager and the Left. He sounds like one of those old agitator washing machines – swishing around dirty water!

  35. BDPB 36

    Good on you for doing this work. I heard most of it but to read it slowly is another thing entirely. I have forwarded it on to others. For our democracy to work we all have to do our bit. Accountability and transparency are a right – and we have to demand it, from Clark and now Key.

    Thank you Nicky Hager for making both possible.

  36. philj 37

    Dear John.
    Great performance for Team Key and from Guyon on RNZ Morning Report. Explains why JK was not doing interviews on RNZ until this election year. More quality interviews please John and Guyon!

    • fender 37.1

      With his reluctance to be interviewed on RNZ at the best of times, something tells me Key won’t be appearing on RNZ ever again, certainly not as PM.

  37. Wensleydale 38

    After this absolute train-wreck of an interview, imagine the searing hatred Key must hold for Hager. He’s probably at home now fashioning a voodoo doll out of rags and straw.

  38. Nick K 39

    Wow. He’s so rambling he’s nearly incoherent. I listened to the interview and read the transcript at the same time and its clear that he was off his script and floundering on this. I guess the usual people didn’t tell him what to say in time for this interview. Good on Guyon for trying to call him to account for the feeble answers and blatant avoision (its a word look it up) even if Key still wouldn’t give an answer about Collins.

    I think Mike Williams and Matthew Hooten on RNZ this morning were interesting as well. The main things I take away are:

    1. You do have to engage with media including bloggers, I understand that – but there are professional ways of doing this, and dirty sleazy ways of doing this and its the sleaze that makes this a more significant issue. Mike Williams points out that if you read through his emails you wouldn’t find the language that these ‘low-rent’ people are using among each other.
    2. National don’t have a clue how to deal with this, they’ve tried 5 or 6 different lines since the book came out and when they don’t stick they pretend that they’ve been saying something else all along. Matthew Hooten said that this interview above is one of Key’s worst performances (he also said Cunliffe would be Prime Minister by the end of the year)

    I’d say its 50/50 whether Key knew much about this directly or was kept (or kept himself) at arm’s length. But the SIS stuff he can either be ignorant and forgetful or incompetent. Interestingly he’s using the same sort of language about Goff, but exactly the same conclusion can be drawn about him. We know the pettiest little OIA request in any department crosses the relevant ministers desk.

    He says:

    I knew there were requests cause, you know, I would have known cause generally they say, you know, there’s a series of requests into the into the SIS or the GCSB, but they often sign off on, well they would sign off on things on their own timetable. We’ve got slightly better processes now so they’ll tell me.

    ???! Does this mean 3 years ago you didn’t know how to supervise the SIS correctly but you’ve got ‘slightly better’ at it? Or 3 years ago the SIS didn’t know how they were supposed to behave and gave out information willy nilly without letting you know first, but don’t worry – things are “slighty better” now (or so they tell you).

    Just to slip slightly into the unprofessional – John Key, you are an idiot.


    I’ve got work to do but could fume about this all day…

  39. The gnats are going down and key is dropping them and I couldn’t be happier. That interview shows what a shallow, hollow, veneer of a human key is. Thank you Karol for transcribing it and thank you Nicky Hagar for the book. The disgust i feel for key and all of them implicated via the book is huge – they are low, they have no morals and they are sick. We will not let them win and we will wipe the floor with them in september and when we do their time in power will be remembered as an absolute aberration, a shit-stain on the political landscape and their names will be used to describe foul and unpleasant things.

  40. felix 41

    And here he is running the same lines, same analogies, same lame acting like he’s just talking off the top of his head, much of it word-for-word the same rehearsed script as karol has painstakingly transcribed…

    …but from an entirely different interview on a different station.

  41. NZJester 42

    Has John Key just told the world that if someone finds an accidental backdoor left open in the security into the National Party computer system that they are entitled to take all the private information they can find and use that information however they like, including publishing what private information they want from it?
    Has John Key basically as leader of the National Party now given hackers permission to try and accesses that computer and a legal defense if they get caught for doing just that?

    Anyone here think he will not have them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they try and do what he just told them was perfectly okay with him?

  42. Sable 43

    Are you sure Keys was squeaking, I thought only rats did that. Usually the trapped variety. I must say I’m surprised….

  43. Tracey 44


    Ms Ketteridge says under the “no surprises” policy the OIA from Slater was passed on to the Minister, but no comment was made

    “This evening an SIS spokesman said the director was “responsible for NZ SIS Official Information Act responses and made the decision to release and what to release in this case”.

    “Under the no surprises convention the director or a representative would normally inform the minister’s office about what is being released under the OIA.

    “That’s what occurred in this case. Neither the PM or his office expressed a view as to whether the information should be released or to whom or when.” NZ Herald 19 August 2014

    what does the “no surprises policy” actually say

    “” In terms of providing the information to the Minister’s Office, this is required of the Ministry as part of the “no surprises” approach. All requests made under the Official Information Act, regardless of their content and nature, must be provided to the Responsible Minister for their information as part of this approach. The “no surprises” approach is consistent with guidelines provided by the State Services Commission and the Cabinet Manual which emphasise that a Department or Ministry ought to advise the Responsible Minister of issues that may be discussed in the public arena or that may require a ministerial response, preferably ahead of time or otherwise as soon as possible ”” (my emphasis)

    So The MINISTER responsible must be advised. Ms Ketteridge appears to be stating it was complied with and Key, as Responsible Minister, was advised.

    So, back to his interview yesterday

    “ESPINER: Well let’s have a look at some of those specifics in the book. Cameron Slater gets an OIA request granted from the SIS which embarrasses Phil Goff. It’s approved in a few days, which is unheard of for information to be released that quickly, especially from the highly sensitive SIS.

    KEY: Well

    ESPINER: Did that did that request come across your desk?

    KEY: No.”

    then he changes and moves about…

  44. Inky 45

    Every time I re-read that transcript I think to myself: My God, if that was me, I’d be so embarrassed I’d take off to Hawaii for a month and leave Bill English to steer the leaky boat through to the election. That is just a terrible display of ducking and diving and refusing to give a straight answer. Absolutely, cringe-makingly, shameful.

    Has the transcript been published in the mainstream media? That is damning stuff, exposes the real Key under the smarmy grin and typically glib responses, and as many people as possible need to read it.

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